Professional associations are often the hub of industry information. They are also places where your target customer is congregating. Participating in associations can be very valuable and provide you with numerous opportunities to grow your business. Too often, we hear from our clients that they have let their membership to such and such association lapse because they did not feel that there was value in that membership. And while they may not have received a return on their investment, it is most likely because they did not take full advantage of that membership.

There are two types of associations that you can belong to. The first is an association with operators within your industry. The second is an association to which your customers belong. Both can be of benefit. Belonging to an association within your industry can help you stay on top of current trends and innovations, as well as what your competitors are doing. Belonging to an association where your customers congregate can help expose your brand and bring in business.

But how do you take advantage of those memberships? Many associations publish industry reports, newsletters, and blogs that contain pertinent data that can help you make strategic decisions. They host events such as conferences, trade shows, and monthly meetings that can serve as opportunities for speaking or exhibiting which can help you to position yourself as an expert in the field. There are also member and supplier directories that you can be a part of.

Remember, it is not always necessary to join an association to take advantage of the opportunities for networking and engagement that it offers. If you are targeting customers that congregate in several different associations, simply joining the supplier directory (which is often free) or applying to be a speaker at one of the monthly meetings, may be enough to establish a lasting relationship and gain new clients. Do you need help finding the right association to belong to?